Best Things to Do in Boca Raton, Florida

Looking for a sunny getaway destination that covers all the bases? Book a spot in your itinerary to check out the best things to do in Boca Raton, Florida. Home to Florida Atlantic University and the southernmost coastal city in Palm Beach County, this ritzy beach town has something for every traveler’s taste.

With its sugar-white beaches, turquoise waters, and graceful palms, Boca Raton is a natural magnet for travelers. Whether you want to play in the surf, explore beautiful parks, take in cultural attractions, or hit the golf course, “Boca” has just what you’re looking for.

Ready to see what’s on the menu? Grab this guide to the best places to visit in Boca Raton, and buzz on down.

Best places to visit in Boca Raton, FL

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Want to view the crown jewel of Boca Raton’s natural attractions? Prime your cameras and head over to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Set on the north end of Red Reef Park, this coastal sanctuary is home to a teeming population of land and marine wildlife.

Explore the park’s twenty acres of lush tropical vegetation. Keep your eyes peeled and binoculars hand for glimpses of the inhabitants, including iguanas, sharks, and turtles.

Butterfly at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Stroll through the tropical hardwood hammock on an elevated boardwalk for a bird’s eye view, or slip into a kayak to explore the intriguing mangroves. Drop into the butterfly garden to savor some moments of tranquility. Want to get up close and personal to the locals? Check out the center’s aquariums.

The star attraction of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center: turtles! Visit Florida Atlantic University’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility, where you can view the biology lab in action. Take the “turtle walk” to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Time it right, and you’ll see hatchlings being released into the wild. No sudden movements!

Sugar Sand Park

On the hunt for a family-friendly crowd-pleaser with loads of outdoor activities? Pack up the gang and head to Sugar Sand Park, one of the best places to see in Boca Raton on a family vacation.

Hop on the carousel, hike the nature trails, and burn off energy in the amazing underwater-themed Science Center playground, where a massive face “watches” as you play. Climb the intricate play structures and find a secret hiding spot.

Jump feet-first into Sugar Sand Park’s interactive exhibits. Race against a (virtual) cheetah—or some other speedy creature. Line up in your racing lane, choose your competition animal, wait for the signal light, then hit the ground running. (Tip: cheetahs are slow starters; you may just win!)

Take in a show at the Willow Theater, or get hands-on learning experiences at the Children’s Science Explorium.

You’ve got 132 acres to explore at Sugar Sand Park, so plan to make a day of it. You packed a picnic, right? Pick out a pavilion to sit down, chow down, and catch your breath.

Boca Raton Museum of Art

Want to satisfy your aesthetic cravings? Will works by masters like Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, and Degas do the trick? And how about classic African and pre-Columbian works of art? Drop into the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and you’ll be rewarded with a treasure trove of creative work.

Boca Raton Museum of Art

Check out the main floor of the art museum, where you’ll discover a rich array of “traveling” shows featuring both past masters and contemporary works ranging from photographs to blown glass pieces.

Head outside to experience the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s premier offering: the stunning outdoor sculpture garden. You’ll feel like Alice in Wonderland; the site teems with one-of-a-kind creations, including a gigantic black cube, enormous teetering teacups, and a fox and bunny riding a horse. (Yes, really.)

Good news for families: the museum offers plenty of kids’ activities. Have fun with sketchbooks, treasure hunts, and special programs for little ones to keep everyone happy.

Spanish River Park

Craving some outdoor serenity? Find it in Spanish River Park, an oceanside retreat that offers 95 beautiful acres just waiting to be explored. One of the top points of interest in Boca Raton, this natural gem offers something for everyone.

At Spanish River Park, you can dig your toes into the sand of pristine sandy beaches. Dive into the turquoise waters of the Intracoastal Waterway. Bodysurf atop the waves, or strap on a snorkel to view the area’s colorful aquatic life up close. Slide into a kayak to explore the scenic shoreline.

Spanish River Park

Looking for some land-based action? Hike the nature trails, hit the playground or volleyball courts, or gear up for a ziplining adventure.

Brought the pooch with you? You’re in luck: this place is Fido-friendly, offering a park just for canines. When you’re ready to take a break, choose a picnic spot and fire up the grill. Now, who’s hungry?

Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center

Want to choose from a rich buffet of cultural attractions? Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center will satisfy your appetite. This unique cultural institution is one of Boca’s biggest draws. It’s home to the Boca Raton Museum of Art, an outdoor amphitheater, a movie theater complex, and an array of designer boutiques, art galleries, and trendy eateries.

Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center

Designed by architect Addison Mizner in the 1920s, Mizner Park reflects his love of Mediterranean architecture. Centrally located, it’s considered by locals to be the heart of Boca. It’s a treat for the senses and tempts visitors to spend all day (and night) here.

Come late afternoon, it really comes to life. Sip on a cocktail, take in the live music and soak up the tropical garden vibe around you.

South Beach Park

Ready for a big gulp of fresh air within easy reach of shops and restaurants? Make South Beach Park your destination. Set along Ocean Drive, this site is a quick trip from the Boca Raton town center. It’s the perfect spot for a day’s break.

The park features a play area for kids, scenic winding paths, easy access to a beautifully maintained beach, and guarded swimming areas. Stroll the boardwalk stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, catch glimpses of the local birds, cast a fishing line, and grab some great oceanside pics.

Want a taste of something fresh and local? Mark a Saturday morning on your calendar, and head down to the Farmers’ Market at neighboring Hunniston Park in Vero Beach. Shop for organic veggies, fresh seafood, baked goods, and artisan creations while you groove to live music.

Then park yourself at a picnic table, fire up a grill, and enjoy your bounty!

South Inlet Park

Want to venture off the beaten path? Get acquainted with one of Boca Raton’s best-kept secrets: South Inlet Park. A hidden gem, this is the perfect place to go when you want to get away from it all.

South Inlet Park

Just five miles from Boca Raton, this tranquil inlet is seldom crowded. Bring your fishing rod and enjoy a peaceful day casting a line from the shore or jetty. If you’re more in the mood for some beach time, there’s a beautiful stretch of sand complete with amenities just waiting to be enjoyed.

Dive into the clear water, go snorkeling to get close-up views of the colorful marine life. Ready to wind down? Savor a snack or meal in the picnic area, and prepare to be treated to a beautiful sunset.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Want to steep yourself in serenity? Head to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Just a few miles northwest of Boca Raton in Delray Beach, this peaceful haven offers 16 acres of tranquil gardens.

Set in a 200-acre park, this is the perfect place to wander. Explore the expansive grounds to view gardens featuring Japanese designs dating back to the ninth century. Discover the pristine lakes, koi ponds, and perfectly manicured bonsai trees. Inhale the scent of the colorful gardens. Stroll across the bridges that connect the park’s pristine islands, explore a bamboo forest, and be awed by a tumbling waterfall.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Drop into the museum, a beautiful structure styled as a Japanese villa. Take in a rich array of photographic exhibits.  Be sure to stop off at the lovely traditional teahouse for some bubble tea. It’s a refreshing way to end your visit.

Boca Raton History Museum

Want to immerse yourself in history? There’s no better place than the Boca Raton History Museum.  This is a destination you really can’t miss: its striking gold dome outshines everything around it.

Originally designed by architect Addison Mizner in 1927, the Boca Raton History Museum is a true icon, sitting on the National Register of Historic Places. Housed in what was once the Town Hall, it features exhibits that highlight Boca’s vibrant past and remains an important community hub and welcome center.

Take the 40-minute guided tour to learn about the intriguing story behind the building’s design and construction. View the fascinating exhibits highlighting local history.

Get in on one of the many guided outings the museum offers, including the Town Trolley, the Train Museum, and the historic Boca Raton tour. All are great ways to bone up on Boca!

The Boca Express Train Museum

If train history intrigues you, you’ll want to tap into the Boca Express Train Museum. Housed in the historical 1930 Florida East Coast Railway depot in the Old Town Hall, the museum is one of the most interesting places to visit in Boca Raton.

Want to time travel? Hop aboard a 1947 Seaboard Air Line rail car to begin your tour.  These dining and lounging rail cars have been immaculately restored and are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Enjoy a fascinating taste of the glamour of rail travel in its heyday. View history as it’s been brought to life in the very solid bodies of a 1964 Atlantic Coast Line caboose and a 1930 Baldwin steam switch engine.

The site also hosts many special events and is a hub for community activities. The Boca Raton Historical Society’s hugely popular Ticket to Ride children’s educational program ensures that this fascinating chapter in Boca’s history remains alive and well.

Hillsboro Inlet Park

Ready to kick back in a scenic setting? Pack yourself a picnic and head over to Hillsboro Inlet Park. This hidden gem offers some of the most beautiful oceanside views in the area.

Hillsboro Beach

Perched atop Hillsboro Inlet, the park offers great views of the Hillsboro Bridge, Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse, Pompano Beach, and miles of ocean. It’s a great spot for Facebook posts or to fill up your IG feed.

Stroll along the pier, or cast a fishing line to see what bites. Hop on a bike to ride the scenic coastline. Take the kids to the playground to burn off some energy. Drop into the Hillsboro Lighthouse Museum to view its unique Pompano Fish paintings and a plaque paying tribute to Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse keepers of the past.

After you’re finished up, find a picnic table or park bench under the palms and watch the boats go by.

Town Center at Boca Raton

Ready for some retail therapy? You’ll enjoy it in spades at the Town Center at Boca Raton, one of the top-rated luxury shopping destinations in South Florida. Boca’s Town Center Mall boasts an amazing mix of over 220 shops ranging from upscale boutiques to department store dependables.

Whether your taste runs to Saks Fifth Avenue or Sears, you’ll find something to satisfy your shopping appetite. The names will ring a bell: Lord & Taylor, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Bvlgari, Carolina Herrera … and the list goes on. And jewel-lovers aren’t left out: the Town Center is also home to high-end vendors like Cartier and Tiffany’s. Polish up that Visa!

And speaking of appetite: all that shopping is bound to work it up. Indulge it at one of a wide array of restaurants, offering everything from deli delights to a meal cooked at your table on a hot lava rock. (Really.) Now that should help you forget about the dent you’ve put in your credit card!

Boca Raton Children’s Museum

Looking for a place where the kids can learn and play? Plan a trip to the Boca Raton Children’s Museum, one of the best family-friendly places to go in Boca Raton. The first children’s museum set up in Florida, the site offers a truly unique interactive experience.

The museum offers a host of exhibits that encourage kids to be active participants and learn through play. Kids can explore settings like the bank, where they can do age-appropriate math using coins and paper money. Or drop into the post office, where they can learn to sort and deliver mail.

Want a bit of drama? Pick a puppet and perform in the puppet theater, or take a spot on the storytelling stage. Want the kids to get a taste of the “real world”? Check out interactive exhibits like the health care center, vet’s office, and science and engineering center. They’ll be learning about how the world works—and about where they might find a place in it as grownups. 

Butterfly World

Are you in the mood for enchantment? That’s what you’ll get at Butterfly World, a truly unique destination devoted to preserving these winged wonders. Memorable experiences are guaranteed.

Butterfly World

Butterfly World is a treat for the senses. Stroll through the beautiful botanical garden, and inhale the scent of roses. While being serenaded by classical music and the sounds of a trickling waterfall, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world.

And you can’t miss the star attraction: over 20,000 species of butterflies flit around the gardens and tropical rainforest aviaries. Set up in 1988 by butterfly aficionado Ronald Boender, this other-worldly attraction aims to educate the public about butterflies and to protect endangered species. They’ve raised over a million butterflies so far!

Butterflied out? Take a break by feeding the colorful local parrots or viewing (and listening to) the noisy macaws. Take a deep breath and cross the wobbly suspension bridge hanging over beautiful Butterfly World Lake. It’s worth the trip!

Daggerwing Nature Center

Looking for an educational experience that will indulge your love of the great outdoors? Look no further than the Daggerwing Nature Center, an attraction that offers an eclectic mix of hands-on and in-classroom learning.

Set in the beautiful Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Daggerwing Nature Center is home to a massive 3,000-square-foot exhibit hall featuring live animals and interactive exhibits. Drop into a classroom to learn more about the local wildlife and vegetation, or check out the laboratory to observe current research activity.

Head outside for a stroll along the elevated boardwalk. Be sure to pack the binoculars to get glimpses of local species like osprey, woodpeckers, storks, butterflies, and alligators. Climb the site’s observation tower—and watch the wild world go by.

Red Reef Park

Looking for a big beach playground? Pop into Red Reef Park, and you’ll find one that suits you to a “T”. Whether you want to sunbathe, snorkel, view wildlife, or swing a golf club while taking in an ocean view, this family-friendly destination has you covered.

Set along North Ocean Blvd, this public beach park boasts nearly 70 acres of sun, sand, and surf. Water lovers take note: this is the place for snorkeling in Boca Raton, so gear up and go for it!

Red Reef Park

Head for the stunning man-made reef that lies just off the beach. The amazing structure teems with aquatic life including turtles, eels, and barracudas. (Yikes!)

Ready to dial it down? Fire up a grill, grab a shaded picnic table, and chow down. Stroll the scenic elevated boardwalk to the beach. Dig your toes into the sugar-white sand, and chill out while watching the mesmerizing turquoise waters lap the shore.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Want to get up close and personal with Southern Florida flora and fauna? There’s no better place than the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. Part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, this destination is a bird lover’s paradise.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Set on 50 acres, the Wakodahatchee Wetlands are home to over 170 bird species—pack those binoculars!  The site features a nearly mile-long elevated boardwalk, making for great exploring and viewing.

Traverse the small islands and open-water ponds. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of the locals, including an amazing variety of birds, turtles, snakes, and frogs.

Traveling tip: slather on the insect repellent and pack some water; for much of the year the forecast is “swampy”!

Best places to say in Boca Raton for sightseeing

Fairfield Inn & Suites Boca Raton

Fairfield Inn & Suites Boca Raton

If you’re looking to save money, this hotel offers some of the best value in normally pricey Boca. Choose between modern and spacious rooms or suites. Amenities include an outdoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center.

Wyndham Boca Raton Hotel

Wyndham Boca Raton Hotel

Located off of I-95, this luxurious hotel is a fantastic choice to add a little style to your Boca stay. It’s close to many top tourist attractions and offers excellent extras like a tropical courtyard, heated pool, hot tub, fitness center, and on-site restaurant.

Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center

Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center

Close to the university and city center points of interest, this luxury hotel delivers contemporary rooms, shining in lovely city views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Cool down and chill out in the comfortable outdoor pool area before retiring to the on-site restaurant & bar for a meal and inspired cocktails.

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